Chapter 21: Leading the Way: The Progressive Movement, 1890-1920

Key Terms

Atlanta Compromise
Booker T. Washington’s speech, given at the Atlanta Exposition in 1895, where he urged African Americans to work hard and get along with others in their white communities, so as to earn the goodwill of the country
direct primary
a political reform that allowed for the nomination of candidates through a direct vote by party members, rather than by the choice of delegates at conventions; in the South, this strengthened all-white solidarity within the Democratic Party
a proposed law, or initiative, placed on the ballot by public petition
investigative journalists and authors who wrote about social ills, from child labor to the corrupt business practices of big businesses, and urged the public to take action
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a civil rights organization formed in 1909 by an interracial coalition including W. E. B. Du Bois and Florence Kelley
New Freedom
Woodrow Wilson’s campaign platform for the 1912 election that called for a small federal government to protect public interests from the evils associated with bad businesses
New Nationalism
Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 campaign platform, which called for a powerful federal government to protect the American public
Niagara Movement
a campaign led by W. E. B. Du Bois and other prominent African American reformers that departed from Booker T. Washington’s model of accommodation and advocated for a “Declaration of Principles” that called for immediate political, social, and economic equality for African Americans
Progressive Party
a political party started by Roosevelt and other Progressive Republicans who were unhappy with Taft and wanted Roosevelt to run for a nonconsecutive third term in 1912
a broad movement between 1896 and 1916 led by white, middle-class professionals for legal, scientific, managerial, and institutional solutions to the ills of urbanization, industrialization, and corruption
to remove a public official from office by virtue of a petition and vote process
a process that allows voters to counteract legislation by putting an existing law on the ballot for voters to either affirm or reject
Silent Sentinels
women protesters who picketed the White House for years to protest for women’s right to vote; they went on a hunger strike after their arrest, and their force-feeding became a national scandal
Square Deal
Theodore Roosevelt’s name for the kind of involved, hands-on government he felt the country needed
a system named for Fredrick Winslow Taylor, aimed at improving factory efficiency rates through the principle of standardization; Taylor’s model limited workers to repetitive tasks, reducing human contact and opportunities to think or collaborate
Wisconsin Idea
a political system created by Robert La Follette, governor of Wisconsin, that embodied many progressive ideals; La Follette hired experts to advise him on improving conditions in his state
a nickname for the Industrial Workers of the World, a radical Progressive group that grew out of the earlier labor movement and desired an industrial union model of labor organization


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